Thursday, May 31, 2007
Happy Birthday Sgt. Pepper!
Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band is 40 years old!
On June 1st 1967 I joined hundreds of other Beatles fans outside HMV in London's Oxford Street, to be among the first to own this truly iconic album.
1967 was without doubt popular music's greatest year. Psychedelia was the biggest influence, with some of the finest ever albums all released within a few months of each other!
Pink Floyd gave us 'Piper at the Gates of Dawn', and Cream released 'Disraeli Gears'. Jimmy Hendrix, 'Are You Experienced?' and The Rolling Stones 'Their Satanic Majesty'. The Doors where at the height of their career and put out both 'The Doors' and 'Strange Days'.
And Sandy Shaw sang 'Puppet on a A String' and won the Eurovision Song Contest!
The Beatles recorded Sgt. Pepper at the Abbey Road Studios in London's St. Johns Wood. Although 8 track recording had by then been developed , they chose to record using 4 track technology, which makes the production of this most complex of albums all the more remarkable. It was of course made in Mono. The stereo version followed sometime later, and as The Beatles had no part in it's remastering, purists will claim that much was lost in this change.
Much has been written about 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds'. Many believe the title to refer to the drug LSD. This has always been denied by Lennon and McCartney, To this day they claim that the song was influenced by a painting by Lennon's 3 year old son Julien. The BBC decided to ban the playing of the track on their radio stations, but inadvertently barred 'A Day in the Life' instead!
Tracks such as 'With a Little Help From My Friend's and 'Within You Without You', sound as fresh today as they did 40 years ago.
As important as it was, many will agree this was not the greatest work by the Beatles. Subsequent years saw the release of 'The White Album' and 'Revolver' which took their remarkable work to another level.
It was however a benchmark in it's time that many aspired to , but few achieved.